Mars Rover Opportunity Dies Far After Its Expiration Date

Launching in the summer of 2003 and dying Feb. 13th, 2018, Mars Rover, (Oppy) or Opportunity did not communicate with NASA after a “Springsteen”, which is a heavy dust storm, not allowing it to recharge its batteries. Spending 15 years on Mars is a great accomplishment, breaking records; the expected lifetime of Oppy was 90 days, it lasted 50 times longer than originally planned.

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“We worked hard, we designed it right, we did the due diligence and the engineering, and those things just lasted forever,” Jarren Trosper, the JPL deputy project manager, says. “It’s sad for me to see Opportunity go; it was always nice to have it there, still driving around as a kind of a, Wow, that really worked well.”

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In Oppy’s lifetime, it covered nearly a marathon’s worth of martian land and concluded that there had been large bodies of water billions of years ago. Data the rover gathered during its extensive travels also showed that “we’re not just talking about a puddle or a pond, but at least kilometer-scale bodies of water on the surface of Mars,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

“With this mission, more than other robotic missions, we have made that human bond, so saying goodbye is a lot harder,” says John Callas, the Project Manager for the Mars Exploration Rovers mission. “But at the same time, we have to remember this phenomenal accomplishment—this historic exploration we’ve done,” “I think it’ll be a long time before any mission surpasses what we were able to do.”